By Xiaojing Zhou
Asian American literature abounds with advanced depictions of yank towns as areas that toughen racial segregation and forestall interactions throughout limitations of race, tradition, type, and gender. in spite of the fact that, in towns of Others, Xiaojing Zhou uncovers a miles varied narrative, offering the main finished exam up to now of the way Asian American writers―both celebrated and overlooked―depict city settings. Zhou is going past interpreting renowned portrayals of Chinatowns by way of paying equivalent realization to lifestyles in different elements of the town. Her cutting edge and wide-ranging method sheds new mild at the works of chinese language, Filipino, Indian, eastern, Korean, and Vietnamese American writers who endure witness to quite a few city stories and reimagine the yank urban as except a segregated nation-space.
Drawing on serious theories on house from city geography, ecocriticism, and postcolonial stories, Zhou indicates how spatial association shapes id within the works of Sui Sin a long way, Bienvenido Santos, Meena Alexander, Frank Chin, Chang-rae Lee, Karen Tei Yamashita, and others. She additionally indicates how the typical practices of Asian American groups problem racial segregation, reshape city areas, and redefine the id of the yankee urban. From a reimagining of the nineteenth-century flaneur determine in an Asian American context to delivering a framework that permits readers to work out ethnic enclaves and American towns as jointly constitutive and transformative, Zhou supplies us a provocative new solution to comprehend one of the most vital works of Asian American literature.
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Extra info for Cities of Others: Reimagining Urban Spaces in Asian American Literature
Mutually exclusive identities of race and culture like these are spatially produced and reinforced. Spatiality of Identity Construction Nayan Shah in his well-researched, provocative study Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown (2001) provides ample evidence showing that “[t]he cartography of Chinatown that was developed in government investigations, newspaper reports, and travelogues both established ‘knowledge’ of the Chinese race and aided in the making and remaking of Chinatown” (18).
It is embattled, because Chinatown is not just a product of the social; it is a site where “the social is constructed,” as Massey contends in arguing for the significance of space (For Space 13). Understood from this perspective, Chinatown is a site where “the white national ideal” is constructed and “sustained by the exclusion-yet-retention of racialized others,” to borrow Anne Anlin Cheng’s words about “[r]acialization in America” (10). While highlighting the mutually constitutive and transformative relationship between Chinatown and Chinese American subjectivity, between the identities of Chinatown and the American city as embedded in Chin’s stories and his novel Donald Duk, I argue that Chin represents Chinatown as a counterpedagogical space in redefining this historically, spatially, and discursively produced ethnic ghetto, transforming it into a transnational, multicultural American urban neighborhood.
These relations, however, are mutually transformative as well. Their implications and effects render Chinatown open to change and irreducible to the uniform, homogeneous, and discrete identity constructed by the popular media of S u i Si n Fa r white America. In other words, if the characteristics of Chinatown as a lived space are defined by its residents, then those characteristics can be redefined and transformed in part at least by the people who live there, as well as by alternative ways of seeing and representing Chinatown and its relationship to the larger society.
Cities of Others: Reimagining Urban Spaces in Asian American Literature by Xiaojing Zhou